County: Harnett County
County population: 112,748
Number of dentists: 20 Dentists
Median Household income: $44,773
• Lillington is the county seat of Harnett County.
• Outdoor enthusiasts can visit Raven Rock State Park, a mere 15 minutes away from Lillington.
View images from the community.
Located between Raleigh and Fayetteville, Lillington is a picturesque town in rural North Carolina. Known as the heart of Harnett County, Lillington is also the county seat. The Cape Fear River, which runs through the middle of Lillington and bisects the county from northwest to southeast, gives its community members ample opportunities for fishing and boating. Residents can also take advantage of the natural beauty of the area and visit Raven Rock Park, where they can picnic, camp, and hike.
In addition to having unlimited, beautiful natural resources, soon Lillington will be at the very forefront dental medicine.
ECU's School of Dental Medicine has chosen Lillington as a site for one of the 10 community service-learning centers that it plans to build throughout North Carolina.
The service-learning center at Lillington will be built near the Harnett County Courthouse on the Brightwater Science and Technology Campus, located on US 401.
Shelia Simmons, CEO of First Choice Community Health Centers, said that Lillington is thrilled to have been chosen as the site for the service-learning center because it will have a profound, beneficial impact on not just the surrounding community but all of Harnett County.
According to Simmons, the community response has been overwhelming.
"Everyone has been so eager and receptive to the new service-learning center," she said. "We are so appreciative and welcome the opportunity to have a learning institution like this in our community."
An essential part of this training and learning opportunity, Simmons said, is to really emphasize the holistic approach to dental care.
"We want the patients to understand that oral health impacts all other areas of overall health," Simmons said. "Good dental hygiene and preventative measures will be taught to the patients."
Simmons also emphasized the benefits that will come from the dental students actually living in the communities they will be serving in.
"Having the students go out into the community gives them the opportunity to positively impact rural health," she said. "Not only that, but the students will also be receiving invaluable training and educational experience."
Simmons added that the center will work towards making people become more aware of how they care for their teeth.
"We want our patients to really take ownership of their dental care, and education is the key to good dental health," she said.